Family Sketch of Samuel Woodruff, died before 1844, & Mary Dinsmore of Hopkins County, Kentucky

Yesterday, I pieced together the likely family of Joseph Woodruff and his wife (and cousin), Mary Woodruff. Since I hadn’t worked on the Woodruffs for quite a few years, I decided it was time I took a new look at them.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting updated information about the ancestry of this couple. Documentation isn’t always easy to come by with this family, so it will be interesting to see what I can find.

First, Samuel Woodruff is often called Samuel Nathaniel Woodruff in printed genealogies. However, I find NO evidence that he had a middle name so he will only be named as Samuel Woodruff.

Second, Samuel’s wife is said to be Mary Dinsmore. I have not come across any document that gives her first name (perhaps because Samuel’s eldest daughter was named Mary) and, further, I believe Samuel married twice and had children by both wives. The source of her maiden name is probably from her son, Dinsmore Woodruff, born in 1815.

While the names of Samuel’s wife are unproven, those of his surviving adult children are most definitely proven by Hopkins County, Kentucky 1848 land deed 14:176.

Notice the gaps in birth years. It isn’t possible, with a 42 year gap between the births of Mary and Jane Woodruff, that they had one mother. I would say that Samuel had a first wife who was likely the mother of at least Mary, John and Virginia/Jane and possibly Hiram. It is more likely that the remaining children had a different mother.

Lastly, the 1830 census of Hopkins County, Kentucky shows Samuel Woodruff, aged 60-69 and the oldest female about 20 years younger, born 1781-1790.

Assuming that Samuel was at least 21 years old when he married and that the 1810 census places his birth year in the range of 1766-1784, he was born about 1766-1768. If the first wife was just 16 when she married (and was likely older than that), her birth year would be c1774. If she had her last child at age 42, Samuel’s five youngest children were of a different mother. If Samuel and his first wife were both born as early as 1766, then she could only be the mother of the first four children.

Samuel’s 1830 wife was born 1781-1790. If she was as young as 16 when she married and only 17 when she gave birth, her first child would have been Samuel’s 4th known child, Virginia/Jane, who married John Keyser. Anyway the situation is viewed, there had to have been at least two wives of Samuel Woodruff.

Since my husband is descended from Mary, the apparent eldest child, I consider her mother to be unknown.

Children, all born, married and died in Hopkins County, KY unless noted:

1. Mary, born c1791; died c1851; married Joseph Woodruff, c1810, probably Spartanburg County, South Carolina.
2. John, born c1794, South Carolina; died after 1850; married Frances (Fanny) Davis, 22 January 1818
3. Virginia/Jane, born c1800, South Carolina; died 15 September 1864; married John Keyser, 20 July 1817
4. Hiram, born 12 January 1805, probably Spartanburg County, South Carolina; died 29 December 1865; married Lydia Elizabeth Fox
5. Robert, born 28 August 1809, probably Spartanburg County, South Carolina; died 6 May 1885; married (1) Sarah Davis, c1830 (2) Martha Page, 7 January 1855
6. Nancy, born 11 October 1812; died 30 June 1900; married Thomas Robertson/Robinson, 16 February 1833
7. Dinsmore, born 18 August 1815; died 14 March 1904; married Selena Dunkeson, 15 October 1836, Christian County, Kentucky
8. Mildred, born 25 March 1819; died 4 September 1900; married John Ezell, 12 May 1841
9. Dicey, born 26 January 1820; died 17 September 1908; married Israel Davis, 16 November 1836
10. Parthena, born 26 August 1824; died 23 April 1891; married Wilkinson Laffoon, 25 March 1841
11. Sarah Elizabeth, born 16 December 1829; died 31 January 1919; married John N. Laffoon, 8 September 1845
12. Jane, born 1833; unmarried in 1850, but not found after that time

3 thoughts on “Family Sketch of Samuel Woodruff, died before 1844, & Mary Dinsmore of Hopkins County, Kentucky”

  1. Regarding the above, I am trying (without much success) to document the marriage of John Willis Woodruff (b. 4 Apr 1793, SC d.15 Sep 1864 Hopkins, KY) and Frances Elvira Davis (b. 10 May 1799 Hopkins, KY d. 21 Sep 1860 Hopkins KY). The date for the marriage I have is 22 Jan 1818 and I think they were married in Hopkins, KY but have not been able to prove this. Do you have any info on where I can get this documentation? Thanks! (BTW I really enjoy your site. Great info!

  2. I think Samuel’s parents were Nathaniel Woodruff (Woodroofe?) and Catherine (or Katherine) Vick but have not proven this. Neither Nathaniel’s or Catherine’s will mention Samuel and I have yet to find a deed or other record documenting the relationship.

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